Did chlorine gas leak start a day before? | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Did chlorine gas leak start a day before?

It was an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon when suddenly Professor Naresh Nanda felt his eyes starting to water. Thinking it was because of over-exertion, Nanda shut his laptop and tried resting his eyes. However, his eyes continued to water through the day.

mumbai Updated: Jul 17, 2010 02:31 IST
Kunal Purohit

It was an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon when suddenly Professor Naresh Nanda felt his eyes starting to water.

Thinking it was because of over-exertion, Nanda shut his laptop and tried resting his eyes. However, his eyes continued to water through the day.

Later, around 3 am on Wednesday, Nanda woke up to the chlorine leak at the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) warehouse that overlooks his sixth floor room at the LBS College of Advanced Maritime Studies in Sewri.

The professor now suspects the chlorine cylinder started leaking a day before, on Tuesday.

Like Nanda, there are many members of the senior faculty as well as students who claim that Wednesday morning was not the first time there was a foul odour in the air. No one can recall if there was an odour on Tuesday, but everyone agrees that it’s a frequent occurrence.

Professor Narayan Samant, another senior faculty at the college, said: "There are times when there are strange odours. We can’t be completely sure, but it is partly due to the chemicals being handled at the warehouse."

Labourers, who handle coal and chemicals at the port, also agree that at times there are strange odours.

"When containers arrive and are opened, they do give out a strong smell," said a labourer.

The MbPT authorities, however, dismissed the idea that the leak could have started a day early and that often there is a strange smell in the air. "There has never been any complaint from the college authorities. This leak was a one-off case," said Rahul Asthana, MbPT chairman.

"A leak does not happen suddenly so it is possible that it began on Tuesday. Irritation to the eye happens when there is a minor leak. Usually, it is accompanied by an odour," a chemical expert said, requesting anonymity.

Dr Hemant Gupta, a leading consultant at Bombay and JJ hospitals, said: "Port areas see movement of a lot of chemicals, including metals such as lead, arsenic. Prolonged exposure can lead to serious problems such as paralysis."